Romualdez sees affordable chicken meat, egg prices with PBBM’s initiative to acquire avian flu vaccine

SPEAKER sees affordable chicken meat, egg prices with PBBM’s initiative to acquire avian flu vaccine

Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez today lauded the initiative of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to hasten the acquisition of avian flu vaccines would help revitalize the country’s poultry industry and ensure affordable food on every Filipino family’s table.

This developed after President Marcos, who concurrently heads the Department of Agriculture, met Tuesday night with leading Indonesian animal health firm PT Vaksindo Satwa Nusantara.

Vaksindo intends to cooperate with its local partner, Unahco Inc. (Univet Nutrition and Animal Healthcare Company) Philippines on veterinary vaccines and plans to invest around US$2 million this year. Likewise, it would soon provide the Philippines with avian flu vaccine.

“The early delivery of Vaksindo vaccines could spur the revitalization of our country’s poultry industry which has faced serious challenges due to the continuing threat of the avian flu,” Romualdez said.

Among others, he noted that egg producers recently confirmed a 20 percent drop in their production due to the culling of at least 10 million chicken layers due to the effects of the avian flu, first reported in the country in 2017.

As a result, prices of eggs spiked early this year with the average cost of a medium-sized egg in Metro Manila markets rising from ₱6.90 to ₱8.70. In some markets, prices even reach ₱10 just for a regular-sized egg.

On the other hand, the price of whole chicken in Metro Manila ranged from P150 to P200 as of June this year, would could be partly attributed to the threat of the avian flu.

“The President is keenly aware of the plight of the poultry industry sector and the engagement with Vaksindo is a positive step towards addressing the problem of avian flu that continues to beset this sector,” Romualdez said.

“Making avian flu vaccines available to our poultry sector, along with the adoption of best practices, would help ensure we could sustain the encouraging signs of recovery of the industry,” he added.

He said this is the reason why the meeting with Vaksindo officials is among the President’s top priorities as part of his trip to Indonesia to participate in the 43rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in Jakarta,” he added.

The Speaker expressed hopes for the enactment of a law that would establish the Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines, envisioned to focus on applied research and studies to develop diagnostic kits and vaccines not only for humans but also for animal and plant diseases.

In December 2022 the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading its version of the measure, or House Bill No. 6452. The Senate has yet to pass the counterpart bill.

Meanwhile, Romualdez said the Marcos administration is likewise attending to similar challenges facing the livestock industry, noting that President Marcos earlier stressed the “urgent need” to revitalize the livestock and poultry industries in pursuit of food security and global competitiveness.

Speaking during the opening ceremony of the Livestock and Aquaculture Philippines 2023 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City in July, Pres. Marcos vowed to address the challenges besetting the two sectors and forge partnerships for their development.

“The sector not only puts food on the table for millions of Filipinos, it also provides a means of livelihood for countless farmers and other ancillary service providers,” President Marcos said.